September 06, 2011 5:43am PT by Lindsay Powers
'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Stars on Premiere, Russell Armstrong's Suicide
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills stars Kyle Richards, Lisa Vanderpump and Adrienne Maloof returned to the Today show Tuesday morning to discuss how the premiere handled Russell Armstrong's suicide.
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"I thought they [Bravo] handled it respectfully in light of the situation. I'm pleased with the outcome," Richards told Ann Curry, adding that Taylor Armstrong "was supportive of the series being shown" about three weeks after her estranged husband hanged himself in the Los Angeles home he was renting after their separation.
Curry asked if Vanderpump was "upset" that producers left in a comment about her husband, Ken, talking about therapy and Russell. "I think everything changes in light of what happened, but it was accurate. It was his opinion regarding himself, not Taylor," said Vanderpump. "He apologized to Taylor the next day after she realized how fragile she was."
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Added Richards, "I think honest, it's very difficult in a situation like this. Bravo has tried to handle this as responsibly and respectfully as possible. The show is not just about them. It's about six women and their lives. It's a part of it, but so much is going on in the show."
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Richards says the suicide came as a shock to everyone. "We had finished filming. I don't think even Taylor was aware of his mental state," she said.
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Maloof went on: "I believe the network with us agreed to take the higher road and do something positive to get the message out about suicide prevention, mental illness and depression. They're taking a negative and making a positive and [we'll] try to save one life…"
When asked if the producers of Bravo exploited their lives -- and Armstrong's suicide -- Maloof said, "[They couldn't] sweep it under the rug and not talk about it. What good does that do?"
Richards said she received "an enormous, overwhelming amount of support and people thanking us for addressing it. People who lost family members…"
"I did research and suicide is the third leading cause of death among young adults and teenagers," added Maloof. "Those statistics are very scary, so if we can get the word out and look for warning signs… somebody needs to start that, and we are the perfect platform for that."